Library Leaves Blog
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Library Leaves is published online by the staff of the Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library. In keeping with our mission to educate, support the study of the Arboretum and living collections, and share botanical knowledge, this blog will offer a closer look at our unique collections, upcoming events, and ongoing projects. Keep reading and continue to visit us online and in person! Follow us on Twitter, @AAhortlib.

A Naturalist in Western China, part two

August 31, 2015 by Library Staff

Wilson Chinese collectors

Volume II of A Naturalist in Western China is generally less narrative in style than Volume I, although Wilson does recount many stories, most of which are edifying and entertaining, some of which are riveting.  more »

The Journey of the Giant Sequoia

July 30, 2015 by Library Staff

Giant Sequoia

After navigating the city streets, the tree eventually arrived at its planting location in the conifers, a perennially moist spot adjacent a nearby spring. Some 43 years later, this tree has established in the landscape, yet not without trial and tribulation.  more »

Migrations: Celebrating Susan Hardy Brown

July 15, 2015 by Library Staff

Susan Hardy Brown

During her 30 years at Arnold Arboretum, Susan Hardy Brown prepared many thousands of herbarium specimens for staff and researchers. On the occasion of her retirement this month, we spoke with Susan to ask about her curatorial work, her career in the visual arts, and about the history of the Arboretum.  more »

Dawson medals come to the Arboretum Archives

May 18, 2015 by Library Staff

Channing Dawson and Ned Friedman

Descendants of Jackson Thornton Dawson, the first Plant Propagator of the Arboretum, visited to present two horticultural medals awarded to Jackson to the Arboretum Archives.  more »

Meet Joseph Rock in our Visitor Center

April 7, 2015 by Library Staff

Joseph Rock on horseback

While traveling into the Kansu Providence in northwestern China, Rock came upon the Tibetan principality of Choni. Choni was a prosperous monastic community with hundreds of monks and families set in a mountainous, fertile land.  more »

A Naturalist in western China

February 20, 2015 by Library Staff


The beauty of these books is present because they don’t strictly adhere to the scientific method, yet neither do they provide farcical or strained vignettes. Instead, they belong to a fantastic and original “hybrid genre,” combining Wilson’s analytic genius and artistic know-how into a good read for anybody interested in the crossroads of art and science.  more »

A close call with Asian Longhorned Beetle

January 29, 2015 by Library Staff

American Forests

Six maples at Faulkner Hospital were infested with Asian longhorned beetle. The Arboretum had obvious cause for concern as a wide variety of its remarkable trees stood in the crosshairs of this destructive pest.  more »

Portrait of a 125-Year Friendship

December 2, 2014 by Library Staff


The Cambridge Plant & Garden Club is the longest active women’s garden club in America, and has enjoyed a long history of partnering with the Arboretum.  more »

Crowdsourcing the Mystery of the Sunrise Ladies

October 22, 2014 by Library Staff


Who are these ladies and where is this house? Who was the photographer?  more »

Picturing People: The Photographs of William Purdom

September 24, 2014 by Library Staff

Charcoal carriers, China

William Purdom proved a gifted portraitist, capturing for posterity a rich ethnographic record of the people from Tibetan border region.  more »

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